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St. Petersburg boat show off to solid start

The 35th St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show got off to a strong start Thursday with 25 percent spike in attendance on the first day over last year.

“We’re encouraged by the exhibitor participation and by the strong first-day attendance,” said Ricardo D. Strul vice president and CFO of Show Management, the company that co-owns, manages and produces the show.

Held at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park, the four-day event also features marine electronics and gear, educational seminars as well as kids fishing clinics presented by the non-profit Hook The Future.

Strul said exhibitor participation has risen to more than 250 — a 10 percent increase compared to 2011. In addition, the overall number of new boats is up by 13 percent over last year and there is an 11 percent increase in the number of brokerage boats. The show's boats consist of 75 percent powerboats and 25 percent sailboats. Boats range from a 10-foot Frigid Rigid dinghy (land location 209) to an 80-foot Vicem (water location 907-935).

“This show is a great mix of sail and power,” says Marc Grove, president of Wefing’s Marine Inc., East Point, Fla., dealers for Ranger Tugs, Eastern, Seaway, Sea Ark, Frontier, Black Jack and C-Dory. “Our customer is oftentimes moving from sail to power, and we sell trailerable trawlers, which is sort of a trademark of our dealership. And it’s a good crowd because we have shallow- draft boats and the west coast of Florida demands that.”

You can download the show’s app, MyBoatShow from iTunes, for information.

— Chris Landry